Aston Villa have struggled when Ollie Watkins has not played this season, says Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.
During that run, Dean Smith’s men managed to beat Newcastle United 2-0. However, they lost to Watford on the opening weekend and were only able to scrape a draw against Brentford, with the 25-year-old missing the majority of that match.
Is Watkins Villa's best attacker?
Ultimately, for Hatfield, the Villans have not been quite at it in Watkins’ absence.
“I think it showed when he was missing in these first couple games of the season just how difficult Villa were finding things and struggling,” Hatfield said to TT.
“A lot of people put that down to Jack Grealish obviously leaving, but without Ollie Watkins, who only missed one game last season through suspension, the difference was pretty clear to see.
“His absence played a massive part in Villa’s struggles, particularly on opening day because he sets the standard from the front, pressing really high and trying to force mistakes from opposition teams.”
Watkins has since returned to Villa’s starting XI, playing the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 league defeat to Chelsea and 3-0 win versus Everton.
With him back, Smith is really spoilt for options when selecting his attack. The Villa boss, of course, added Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia to his squad in the summer to join the likes of Watkins and Anwar El Ghazi, who were already at the club.
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